Dave Mustaine has had quite a career, and is still going strong. If you have any doubt of his continuing relevance to the metal world, just check the latest Megadeth release United Abominations.
Even if some of the recent outings have not lived up to Megadeth's legacy, this 2007 release is a return to form. Ever since his exit from a then up and coming Metallica, Mustaine has forged ahead in his own direction with his brainchild, Megadeth. I mention Mustaine more than Megadeth, as he is Megadeth. He is the driving force, primary songwriter, and only remaining member of the legendary act. To treat the fans, show continued relevance, and cement their legacy, Dave Mustaine has gone through the Megadeth catalog and culled the best of the best along with some treats that have never seen the light of day. All of this material has been compiled into the Megadeth Warchest, four CDs and one DVD worth.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to get my hands on the entire set, but I have gotten a sampler CD of material. Below is a listing of all five disks, the bolded tracks are the ones on the sampler disk.
1. Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good!
1. “keeping score …” *
Disc Five [DVD]
1. intro/Holy Wars … The Punishment Due *
|* previously unreleased
^ previously unreleased in the U.S.
This set is massive! All of the songs have been remastered and sound great. That is one of the best reasons to pick up this set or the album reissues that have been coming out. The re-masters make the songs so much fresher.
Funny story about re-mastering. I was never much of a fan of their debut album, Killing is My Business…. And Business is Good. It never sounded all that good. Then the re-master came out back in 2002, I picked it up and it was like listening to a brand new album. Seriously, the difference is night and day between the two. So, if you don't think re-masters are for you and you haven't heard this album, do an A/B comparison. Listen to the original and the remastered and try to tell me you don't hear the difference.
Back to the Warchest.
This sampler is not the best way to experience Megadeth, as the songs are all crammed in with no breathing room, they are even faded and mixed right into the start of the next song to fit more on. I'm not complaining mind you, just saying that considering how cool this music is, the real set will be that much better. The songs are presented in chronological order, which is the best way to experience a collection of this sort. This order allows you the experience of listening to the band develop and change through their career.
All of the hits are included, but what is really cool is the older live material. None of this has been released before. Both of Megadeth's live releases came later in their history. This set gives the first retail release of live material from their, arguable, peak period of the early 1990s. I never got to experience those years and the few live tracks on the sampler are great. From the performance to the sound quality, you cannot beat it. In particular, "Ashes in Your Mouth" sounds great, ending with a brief Nick Menza drum solo. Of course, it is also cool to have the Wembley Stadium performance of "Holy Wars." That song is a classic, and this is one of those early performances from when the song was young.
What can I say? Megadeth is a kick ass band that has pretty consistently delivered metal for over two decades. This collection shows Mustaine in all of his metallic glory, shredding like only he can, singing the only way he knows how, and surrounded by a revolving door of first rate musicians. Whatever lineup you prefer, you cannot deny that he has always surrounded himself with quality musicians, highlighted by the early 90's lineup that featured David Ellefson (bass), Marty Friedman (guitar), and Nick Menza (drums).
Bottomline. This is bound to be a must have for Megadeth fans. Sure, we have a bunch of the songs already, but for the demos, session takes, and live material, the Warchest will be priceless.